Race tech: Paris-Roubaix, April 14, 2009
Tweaked machines for Astana
Team Astana went with proven modifications for their Trek Madones to gain a little extra stability and comfort as they departed from Compiègne.
Longer rear dropouts transplanted from elsewhere in the Trek company catalog lengthen the chain stays while also providing a touch more tire clearance up by the seat stay wishbone. However, rather than fit new tips to the existing Madone fork to balance out the rear, Trek continued their trend of fitting entirely different forks with more rake and length built in.
The subbed forks use carbon blades bonded to bulky alloy crowns with roughly 10mm of tire clearance on all sides – far more than usual – and the non-tapered 1 1/8” alloy steerer tube requires a stepped-down lower headset assembly to fit the stock Madone head tube. Though the forks aren’t quite so long as to require long-reach brake calipers, the pads had to be set nearly all the way down in the SRAM Red calipers in order to hit the rim properly.
Other changes from the usual road setups included fully sealed Gore derailleur cables and housing to maintain shift performance in adverse conditions, doubled-wrapped bars, and aggressive gearing front and rear to better suit Paris-Roubaix’s mostly flat parcours. Wheels were standard Paris-Roubaix fare with aluminum box-section tubular rims, low-flange DT Swiss hubs, and fat Hutchinson tubular tires.
Both road and ‘cross bikes for several teams
Caisse d’Epargne and Milram both roughly split their riders between traditional road frames and ‘cross bikes for what would turn out to be a mostly dry and sometimes even dusty Paris-Roubaix.
While Milram’s ‘cross riders sported full carbon creations (which we showed you a few days ago from Gent-Wevelgem), Caisse d’Epargne’s Pinarello ‘cross bikes were fairly mundane in comparison to their usual Prince speedsters. The TIG-welded aluminum frames were built with butted 7005 tubes and augmented with carbon seat stay assemblies while the matching forks used alloy crowns and steerer tubes – thus assuredly making them far heavier than the all-carbon forks on the Prince. Since team sponsor Campagnolo don’t make cantilever brakes, Shimano stoppers were fitted at either end.
Otherwise, Caisse d’Epargne continued to be one of just a handful of teams running Campagnolo Super Record 11 components (most are still on standard Record 11) and the usual crop of Paris-Roubaix gear was also on hand, including box-section aluminum tubular wheels, wider tubular tires, taller gearing, and more heavily padded bar tape.
Road-‘cross hybrids for others
Lampre and Katusha bike sponsors Lampre and Ridley carried over the unique road-‘cross hybrid machines they used last season.
Katusha mated their Ridley X-Fire ‘cross frames with mid-range road forks – complete with weighty aluminum crowns and steerers – in order to gain additional tire clearance and bottom bracket height.
Save for the rear 4ZA cantilever brake, the rest of the bike is fairly standard-issue road fare including a production Campagnolo Record 11 group. Wheels are the usual box-section aluminum tubulars with relatively wide tires – here labeled as Vredestein but looking more like something from Dugast or FMB – and gearing is typically tall for Paris-Roubaix.
Lampre’s Wilier creations – the same as what Alessandro Ballan used to nab third place last year – required a tad more creativity. A ‘cross bike seat stay assembly – flipped around to that the empty brake studs face forward – was spliced in with other Wilier carbon road frame components to net some extra clearance and length while a longer fork is used up front to balance things out.
Long-reach brake calipers are used front and rear and some Lampre riders also used a single supplemental brake lever on the bar tops for additional control on the pavé.
A closer look at Cervélo TestTeam’s special RS
Cervélo have already scored two Paris-Roubaix victories using their modified R3 frames and based on that track record, it seems only logical that they should build their new TestTeam’s bikes exactly the same way. Conveniently, Cervélo now has an easier time getting the Roubaix bikes ready for the team since the new RS frame now includes most of the special geometry changes in stock form.
We still managed to spot a few changes from previous Cervélo Paris-Roubaix specials though. As we have previously mentioned, the modified RS bikes sport long-reach brake calipers at both ends but the bikes also showed up with different forks the morning of Paris-Roubaix as compared to what Roger Hammond was using at Ronde van Vlaanderen. The Paris-Roubaix fork crowns were noticeably bigger and wider for additional clearance and also used aluminum fork tips instead of carbon. The legs and steerer tube were definitely carbon fiber but we’re unsure of the crown.
As was the case earlier in the week, most of the guys were using Dura-Ace 7800 components instead of the newer 7900 bits – including Thor Hushovd who crossed the line in third after an unfortunate crash late in the race. However, one exception on Sunday was eventual seventh place finisher Heinrich Haussler, who was fully decked out in the newest Dura-Ace along with Rotor Q-Rings while the rest of his teammates ran round rings.
One last change from Cervélos of yesteryear was the rear brake cable routing. Gone was the full-length housing and trio of zip-tie guides below the top tube in favor of the stock housing stops. Sealed Gore housing was used instead for essentially the same effect.